LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA (CBS4) – When Paul Ryan took the stage at a jubilant hometown campaign rally, he wiped tears from his eyes, and when he took the podium the first words out of his mouth were, “Hi, Mom!”
The presumptive Republican vice-presidential nominee credits his mother, Betty, with motivating him to success. While he is a fifth generation Wisconsinite, Ryan isn’t 100% Cheesehead. His Mom owns a small, winter condo in a peach colored complex on A1A in Lauderdale By The Sea in Northern Broward County.
“I’ve had dinner with her. She’s very active when she’s down here, and she’s really a wonderful person,” said her neighbor Terry Dibert.
If Dibert likes Ryan’s mother, he also likes her son.
“Everyone I’ve talked to has been really excited about him being on the ticket,” Dibert said.
Betty’s next door neighbor, Frank Longo, said he’ll vote for Romney/Ryan, and doesn’t believe the Congressman’s economic plan – that overhauls Social Security and Medicare as we know it – will destroy the programs.
“He’s only going to make them better,” Longo said. “That’s only stuff that the media turns all around.”
Neighbor William Anastasiou, who recently obtained his degree and doesn’t have a job, said he’ll vote for the son of the nice lady down the walk.
“I think anything’s better than what we have right now,” Anastasiou said. “No jobs, unemployment is high, I think it might be time for a little change.”
Demetri Papadopoulus, a young man looking to buy a condo in Betty Ryan’s complex, said he won’t be voting Republican. Papadopoulus opposes Ryan’s proposal to impose income tax on workers’ health benefits.
“We don’t need more taxes,” Papadopoulus said.
Ryan evoked his mother’s name on “60 Minutes” Sunday night in defending his proposal to overhaul Social Security and Medicare for those born after 1958.
“We must reform it for those of us who are younger,” Ryan said. “In order to make that promise for those current seniors, like my mom who’s a Florida senior, we need to reform for the next generation.”
Down the street from his mother’s home, at the Ham and Eggs Diner, some in the next generation weren’t buying it.
“I’ve paid into Social Security and Medicare my whole life, being a middle class earner,” said Norman Labauve. “I want to know that those programs are going to be there for me after I’ve paid into them.”
His opinion was mirrored by his lunch partner, Jim Chafty.
“My son is in Afghanistan right now, serving his country,” said Chafty. “I really have a problem with them cutting any kind of aid.”
Sergio Rosenblat, a resident of Lauderdale By The Sea for 30 years, said bi-partisan, independent studies have concluded the Ryan economic plan would reduce social program benefits, raise taxes on the middle class, and deliver a disproportionate tax cut to the very wealthy.
“Don’t drink the Tea Party Kool Aid,” Rosenblat said.